Photo by Humuhumu
I love this stuff—it's a main course! It's a side dish! It's comfort food! It's for when you have to feed vegans! It's a great one to make ahead, as it keeps well, and tastes better the next day. Aside from the onion & garlic, it uses shelf-stable ingredients, which makes it nice to have in your general meal repertoire. The recipe came to me from my husband, who got it from the New York Times, who got it from Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver, BC.
- 3 15-ounce cans chickpeas
- 2 black cardamom pods
- 1⁄3 c vegetable oil
- 1 medium-large yellow onion, peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2-1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 9 dried dates, pitted and chopped
- 4 tsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground cayenne, or to taste
- 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
- 2 whole star anise
Drain the chickpeas and set aside in a nonreactive bowl.
Crack open the cardamom pods. Peel the shell to release the seeds and collect them in a small bowl, discard the shells. With a rolling pin or a mortar and pestle (YOU GET TO USE A MORTAR AND PESTLE!), crush the seeds and set aside.
In a medium pot set over medium-high heat, heat the oil until it begins to shimmer. Add the onions and sauté for 8 to 10 minutes, until they have softened and started to brown. Stir in the garlic and sauté for a minute or so, until it, too, has softened. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato paste. Add the cardamom and all remaining ingredients and sauté for 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the chickpeas and 1/2 cup or more of water, enough to make them less than dry. Heat the mixture, stirring occasionally to incorporate the flavors. Keep warm until serving, or make a day or two ahead and reheat before serving.